So, it’s ADHD Awareness Month! I kicked off the month sharing a blog about an experience I had trying to get my medications when I was temporarily living in San Francisco.
As a woman with diabetes and ADHD, looking into how this applies or presents itself has been very important to me so I've been looking into as much as I can.
I learned about this great group called Kaleidoscope Society recently- I love how they look into the experience of ADHD in women.
“Research shows that ADHD manifests itself differently in females and it’s estimated that 50-75% of women with ADHD go undiagnosed. This leaves 4 million women to suffer in silence, causing life damaging consequences. Delay or lack of appropriate diagnosis and treatment can result other conditions such as depression, anxiety, bipolar, learning disabilities, OCD, PTSD, drug and alcohol addiction and eating disorders. (Source: NAMI)” –Kaleidoscope Society
Plus there’s great information to find!
“Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affects about 5 percent of children, and about half of them will carry those symptoms into adulthood, says the American Psychiatric Association. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that numbers are even higher in smaller community samples. On top of that, many adults with ADHD have never been diagnosed.
Untreated ADHD can cause numerous mental and physical problems that can put a strain on relationships and cause difficulties in many aspects of everyday life. It’s important to recognize the signs of adult ADHD so you can get proper treatment.” –Healthline
“Anxiety is one condition that is often seen in people with ADHD. About 50 percent of adults and up to 30 percent of children with ADHD also have an anxiety disorder.” –Healthline
“Looking back at this period of my life makes me passionately believe that there needs to be a deeper understanding of the common struggles of diabetics and those with ADHD. “ –Diabetes Daily
I was officially diagnosed with ADHD (and anxiety and OCD) when I was 22 (with a statement saying that I presented before the age of 12). Part of me still cringes when I think how long this took. I think about the stigma in general and with medication, the constant focus on diabetes in my life, and the fact that I am a woman so I present differently.
I wonder and can feel hindsight bias when I think on past experiences and things I went through- specifially when I would reach my limit since I would hold it all in and had no idea what was going on.
I think of how I have gone full force with really figuring out what I need to do to take care of this (and the rest of me)– and not just the temporary fixes that I had been taught growing up.
I think about how sometimes things are blamed on just the diabetes or that I don’t care or that I’m not taking care of myself- but honestly… usually there is something else going on- such as I might just forget. Ever think that might play into diabetes management? That someone might forget for whatever reason or maybe because of ADHD?
I’m a woman who was undiagnosed with ADHD for over 10 years with a chronic illness. My symptoms and data aren’t what you immediately think of when you think about ADHD. That is where the stigma and misconceptions come in.
Even with medications (but before it was to the extreme):
- I can get hyperfocused which is why I have a get in bed alarm.
- I’m forgetful which is why I have to write it down. (and sometimes this applies to my diabetes and medications- so I have to have a system in place).
- My self-image has always been low (but improved with time).
- It can be hard to fall asleep because my mind is going a million miles an hour.
- It’s hard to sometimes focus on ONE thing to get motivated on.
- If there a lot of things to do, thoughts, or stuff- I cannot just tackle it all at once. I get overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. I need to put it in managable tasks or sections.
- I’m impatient.
- If I could win awards for daydreaming, I would have them all.
It’s a part of ADHD. It’s why I take medications. It why I try to make sure I’m doing what I need to do so that I can manage and live my life.